Blog: Dean BestAll change at Aldi UK - again

Dean Best | 2 March 2010

Aldi has unveiled the latest management team it hopes will breathe fresh life into its struggling UK business.

The German discount giant has named two managing directors to lead its operations in the UK and Ireland.

Matthew Barnes, a former Aldi executive in Australia, and Roman Heinl, who had overseen the company's business in Switzerland, will both take the helm at the retailer here and across the Irish Sea.

The duo are Aldi's latest attempt to revitalise its business here. Paul Foley quit the business last summer and his replacement, Armin Burger, left the company after just three months.

Little is known about how the two will work but, in the UK at least, they have their work cut out.

Aldi is no longer being talked about in the terms it enjoyed in the second half of 2008, when the media was full of stories about the so-called "Aldi effect".

Competition among the UK's largest food retailers has meant that shoppers, who were lured by Aldi as the country's economy moved into recession, have reverted back to the likes of Tesco and Asda.

And, according to the latest sales data from Kantar Worldpanel, published today (2 March), Aldi has lost market share in the UK, due in part to the Big Four (or Five, if you include The Co-op).

However, Kantar also argues that the weakness of sterling has made Aldi less competitive.

"The weakness of sterling continues to threaten some of the pricing in the German-based retailers and consumers are once again starting to shop there more selectively," the company argued.

With the likes of Tesco and Asda showing signs of not letting up on their battles on price and, notably, loyalty programmes, Aldi will find it tough to win back those pulled in by the "Aldi effect".


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